Chicago Young Republicans boast of membership increase at Cubby Bear
Among Wrigley Field and its surrounding sports bars and reggae clubs the Cubby Bear occupies a significant post on the corner just past the ball field if one’s headed east.
This past Friday, the bar played host to an event bolstering the hopes of Republicans for a November upset in any number of races. Real or imagined, those potential election results attracted a surprisingly healthy number of party activists and networking conservatives.
In choosing the locale for this party—an event to display as well as swell its ranks— the Chicago Young Republicans (CYR) seemed to have made certain assumptions about the venue's inherent inclusiveness. If it wants to swing Chicago’s political machinations in its favor, it will have to start with Cubs fans evidently. But the Cubby Bear, despite its storied history as a rock venue, isn’t necessarily an hospitable environment for those not accustomed to traversing sports-themed watering holes. Are all Republicans sports fans?
Perhaps appealing to another slice of the mainstream demographic was Super Diamond, well heeled in platform shoes, aping the hits of one Neil Diamond—the singer has actually been a consistent DNC donor.
Mitigating these short-comings was a surprisingly earth-conscious consultant who was attracted to CYR after having lived in the Bay Area as a “hidden Republican.” Despite his dismissal of hippies and their ilk, Daniel Anthony portrays what’s meant to be the next wave of the party: put-together, rather well spoken, able to relate to pretty much anyone and incapable of summoning images of Cheney, Dole or Agnew.
Equally striking was how casual Kyle Stone, CYR’s Membership Director, appeared while mentioning problems he saw in the state’s budget—deficits, 'natch. Ever demure, he championed Obama and local Democrats as much as his own efforts for raising membership in the Chicago area—a half-joke, half-truth.
The CYR event came together with a marketing/advertising campaign ("Right here, right now") that popped-up inside of CTA trains, on the tops of cabs (see photo, above) and on billboards. Someone is reaching into deep pockets to bolster the CYR.
Funded through "a combination of donations leading up to the event" as well as "in-kind advertising," according to Anthony, it would seem that CYR's $35 membership fees were just a drop in the bucket of backing the get-together.
However it might be funded, the event provided an opportunity for politicos to make their case on a number of issues in a non-threatening manner. We'll see if this new version of the GOP gains ground in a few months. And don't forget to register to vote. Neil Diamond wouldn't.